Trinidad's Ronnie Nelson at HB Global Tourney
Trinidad Trinidad Trinidad

6-year old Ronnie Nelson ponders move
at HB Global Chess Challenge
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

At any major tournament, there is bound to be hundreds of different stories waiting to be told. Each player has a respective journey that they have taken to get to a tournament. Leading up to the HB Global Chess Challenge, a number of stories circulated through the wire services about players who were headed to the HB tourney. Some of these had to do with elementary school players, young adults, older players, foreign nationals and locals. One such story comes from Trinidad and Tobago of a 6-year old player named Ronnie Nelson. His trek from Port-of-Spain, Trinidad to Minneapolis, Minnesota was in pursuit of a challenge that he enjoys from chess. 

According to his aunt and chaperon,
Lesley-ann Nelson, Ronnie picked up chess two years ago by attending chess lessons at Arima Boys' R.C. on Saturdays. After a few months, he got his first taste of victory and took 2nd place in junior tournament sponsored by First Citizens Bank. Last year, he played in his first tournament abroad in the Miami Junior Orange Bowl Scholastic Competition last December. As the youngest player in the tournament, he scored 2˝-4˝, but it was good enough for 3rd place in the under-9 section and he helped Trinidad take the overall team trophy.

Trinidadian and Tobago Chess Federation President
David Jones has given a watchful eye to Ronnie's progress. Perhaps one day he will challenge the likes of NM Christo Cave and FM Ryan Harper for national bragging rights. A Port-of-Spain native with a Jamaican mother, Ronnie receives a lot of encouragement from his family and excels in a number of other activities. His aunt states,

"Ronnie also cycles competitively. He recently received a medal for 1st place at the International Cycling competition held at the Arima Municipal Stadium in the 6 and under. He is also a gifted child, excelling in academics and has a high I.Q. compared to his peers. He can learn 50 words in five hours and presently knows all the Ministers of Government of his country which is 32. He can say his 2 to 12 times tables and loves reading his favourite educational software, Dr. Seuss. He loves going to the Movies and enjoys the game of cricket at the beach."

Ronnie wishes to become a Grandmaster and got his first taste of the U.S. media making the May 22nd Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Metro/State section). The Port-of-Spain resident scored 2-1 in the Scholastic Tournament during the HB Global Chess Challenge. Photo by Jim Gehrz.

At the HB Global tournament, his proud aunt was seen always within eyesight of her nephew. Ronnie appeared to be quite overwhelmed with his Minneapolis experience and probably had never seen more the 1600 players in one location. He did meet  Harper and Trinidadian Terrence DePeaza (who lives in Atlanta) and a host of other players from around the world. Hopefully, Ronnie can draw from this experience and continue to improve his play. His family is seeking coaching services and are looking to attend a chess camp.  Individuals or companies interested in sponsoring talented Ronnie can contact Lesley-ann Nelson at  or

Trinidadians at the HB Global Chess Challenge

(L-R) FM Ryan Harper, Lesley-ann Nelson, Ronnie Nelson, Terrence DePeaza
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

Ronnie meeting with U.S. resident-Nigerian players…
Dr. Sylvester Smarty and Dr. Okechukwu Iwu.
(Photo by Daaim Shabazz)

Ronnie playing in a simul against Maurice Ashley,
the world's first Black chess Grandmaster
(Photo by Lesley-ann Nelson)

Ronnie posing with GM Maurice Ashley
at the HB scholastic tournament
(Photo by Lesley-ann Nelson)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 1 June 2005